Energy production gives French Ardennes trade a boost

French Ardennes are at the forefront when it comes to energy diversification. The area generates energy from all available sources (wind, biomass, hydroelectric and nuclear power)

French Ardennes are at the forefront when it comes to energy diversification. The area generates energy from all available sources (wind, biomass, hydroelectric and nuclear power). In order to make its production sites sustainable, EDF has embarked upon an extensive modernisation programme in the Meuse valley.

In 2014, renovation began on power generators at the Revin pumped storage power plant, the third largest in France in terms of its overall power capacity (800MW available in two minutes). After setting up site facilities for any companies taking part in the renovation work, the first pump-turbine was disassembled and redeveloped in 2016. Three other pump-turbines and their mechanisms and electrics will undergo the same process; thus, each year, 700 tons of parts will be changed. Without interrupting electricity production, this redevelopment will therefore engage more than 40 companies (including Alstom and Adritz) and 250 employees up until 2020. EDF will be investing a total of 100 million euros to improve the station’s reliability and output. The French Ardennes power station is managed remotely via the hydraulic control centre in Lyon. It is run by Olivier Vidalinc, employs 35 permanent staff and produces approximately 898,000MW per year.

The Chooz nuclear power station, which is now 20 years old, is benefiting from EDF’s extensive refit program. It will be investing 51 billion euros nationally between 2012 and 2025. 2 billion will be spent on the French Ardennes site. 34 million euros are earmarked for redeveloping infrastructure (decorating, structural engineering, new builds), 700 million euros for enhancing safety, 35 million for maintenance and finally 1,4 billion for the refit (2018-2020). In addition to the logistical arrangements (increasing parking on site, installing 600 portakabins), the first phase of the work focuses on improving safety: developing a nozzle system which improves access to cooling tank water in case of emergency and installing additional emergency power generators to avoid flooding. The Ardennes power station, which employs 765 EDF workers and 200 permanent service providers, would then be able to accommodate up to 2,300 people. Usual maintenance (biannual shutdowns and ten yearly inspection) will occur alongside the redevelopment programme.

With two engines, each with 1,450MW capacity, Chooz’s nuclear power station generates 22 billion kWh a year, which is 5% of France’s electricity output. This programme aims to ensure the power station’s continuity. 

In the past few years, French Ardennes has undertaken extensive renovation work: rebuilding Charleville-Reims’s high voltage lines, replacing the dams in Aisne and Meuse. These different modernisation projects create employment and are necessary to develop the economy. They maintain and sometimes improve upon service quality and opportunities for French Ardennes companies.


By Ardennes Développement, the Ardennes economic development agency -

©JM Benoit